Moving on from system states (and states of the system), today I’d like to fly over the landscape of different systems. In particular, systems that are — or are not — viewed as conscious.
Two views make this especially interesting. The first holds that everything is computing everything and — under computationalism — this includes conscious computations. The second (if I understand it) holds that anything that processes input data into some kind of output is conscious. (I’m not clear if the view also sees an input-output system as a computer.)
So I want to explore what I see as major landmarks in the landscape of systems that… well, about the only thing we can probably all agree on is that they do something.
My illusion of free will decided the month of May must be made for Mind (and maybe a dash of Mandelbrot). Lately, online discussions about consciousness have me pondering it again. I never posted on topics such as Chinese Rooms or Philosophical Zombies, largely because sensible arguments exist both ways, and I never decided exactly where I fell in the argument space.
It’s not that I’ve decided on the topics so much as I’ve decided to write about them (and other topics). I’ve found that writing about a topic does a lot to clarify my mind about it. (Trying to teach a topic does that even more.)
I’ll start today with some personal observations and points of view.
As fall slowly falls upon the region, the smell of wood smoke is in the air. Much as it evokes great times around countless camp and bonfires, the smell has been strong enough recently to really set off my sinuses. Two nights in a row (wait: sniff, sniff… make that three), it was less the fragrance of wood smoke and more the acrid nostril-irritating stench of wood smoke.
An age-old metaphor for life, perhaps.
Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.